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Showing posts from April 15, 2018

Criticism

When we hear this word we often think of someone finding fault with us and think that's a terrible thing. But criticism has gotten a bad rap. Honesty, it is the act of analyzing and making judgments and expressing that to another. The words "constructive criticism" may help take the taint off it. Solomon was a very wise man and he was continually involved in criticism in the good way. In fact, he identified the wise end to criticism. He said, "If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored." (Proverbs 13:18) The two dreadful dislikes for every one of us are poverty and shame. Poverty brings you to want but not be able to have, and shame causes you to hide your face from others and be dishonored. Jesus gave criticism to many. The woman caught in adultery; the Samaritan woman at the well of the city of Sychar; the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda; and those who were lepers, to name just a few. His cri…

Blindness Cured

Zacchaeus! You think you know him, but do you? The children's song says he was a "wee little man, a wee little man was he." Well, maybe in physical stature but we know that some shorter people are power packed. That was Zacch!" "He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he became very rich." (Luke 19:2b) Under Roman rule at the time of Christ, Palestine was divided into three taxing regions, with district "capitals," if you want to use that term. They were Caesarea half way up the Mediterranean Sea in Palestine, Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee to the northeast, and Jericho down in the southeast, close to the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. To be "the chief tax collector" meant that you were in charge and had many underling tax collectors working for you. The Roman leadership wanted hard guys in these positions and ones with powerful leadership ability to keep the taxes coming in for Rome and gathering whatever they wanted over tha…

Conquering

At the end of Joshua's life God reminded him, "You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered." (Joshua 13:1) This was not an indictment against the work of Joshua in conquering the land but a reality check about how much work still remained to be done. Next God said, "This is the territory that remains…" (13:2) God identifies all the land that has yet to be conquered. Why does He do this? God wanted Joshua to know that He knew what still needed to be conquered and He wanted the people of Israel to know they weren't finished yet. They were to conquer it so that they could experience the full blessing of God and see the promise of God fulfilled. But not only does God list the areas yet to conquer, He also says, "I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites." (13:6b) God was not sitting back and waiting for Israel to take it, He was involved in the conquering and the reason they could take it. Finally God says, &…

Crossings

There were two crossings the people of Israel experienced on their way to freedom. One was the crossing of the Red Sea which, after 400 years in Egypt, took them from slavery to freedom. Now that freedom did have boundaries which were established on Mt. Sinai with the giving of the Law. It gave clear direction as to how to worship God, how to live in a family, and how to be a good neighbor. Between this crossing and the second, which was the crossing of the Jordan River, there were forty years of wandering in the wilderness where a generation of men was removed by natural death because of their disbelief when the promise land was originally offered to them. The eventual crossing of the Jordan by Israel took them from the wilderness into the land of promise where they would live and create a nation that would eventually have kings that ruled. In our own lives these two crossings also happen. We were slaves to sin, born in sin and living in rebellion to God, but Christ died for us, so whe…